Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

Unlike some of the cancers such as colon and breast cancer, pancreatic cancer is not routinely found with the help of the screening tests. This is because there is no specific screening test for pancreatic cancer yet and it has been referred to as the silent disease. Pancreatic cancer is broadly classified as exocrine pancreatic cancers and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), based on the origin of the cells where cancer begins.
In the early stage, pancreatic cancer does not show any signs and symptoms, they usually appear in the advanced stages when cancer has spread outside the pancreas.

Have a glance at some common signs and symptoms of exocrine pancreatic cancer.

Jaundice

A majority of people will develop jaundice or jaundice related symptoms. As cancer begins in the head of the pancreas near the bile duct which can press the duct and cause jaundice. However, if cancer starts in the tail or body of the pancreas, the bile duct is not pressed and there are fair chances that cancer has spread beyond the pancreas as well and it often goes to the liver that leads to jaundice.

Dark urine

Sometimes, one of the early signs of jaundice is darker urine because of the increased bilirubin levels in the blood.

Itchy skin

As the bilirubin keeps building up in the skin, it can start to itch as well as the skin turns yellowish.

A backache or pain in the belly

A backache or pain in the belly is the most common symptom of pancreatic cancer. This s because as cancer grows it starts to press the other nearby organs which cause pain.

Weight Loss

Weight loss is the most common sign of pancreatic cancer. The patient might either have a little appetite or no appetite.

Nausea and Vomiting

When cancer presses the stomach which can lead to the partial blockage of it making hard for food to get through. This leads to nausea, vomiting, and pain which can get worst after eating.

Gallbladder or liver enlargement

Blocking of the bile duct causes the building up of bile due to which the gallbladder enlarges. If cancer has spread to the liver then it can also sometimes leads to the enlargement of the liver.

Diabetes

In some rare cases it can also lead to diabetes as cancer cells destroy the insulin-making cells.

Below are the signs or symptoms of the pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors:

Insulinomas

  • Sweating,
  • Anxiety,
  • Lightheadedness,
  • Low blood sugar.

Glucagonomas

  • Diarrhea,
  • Excessive thirst,
  • Frequent Urination,
  • Sudden weight loss.

Gastrinomas

  • Abdominal pain,
  • Stomach ulcers,
  • Weight loss.

Somatostatinomas

  • Diarrhea,
  • No appetite,
  • Abdominal pain.

VIPomas

  • Watery diarrhea,
  • Abdominal cramping,
  • Facial flushing.